Updated: on 30 January 2024

Miles of unspoiled sandy beaches, centuries of history, incredible wildlife, and a warm welcome with a cup of the tastiest tea on the planet make Sri Lanka the ultimate island getaway, and here is our easy guide to the entry requirements to Sri Lanka. Historically the island nation of Ceylon, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka lies off the coast of southern India and if you are planning to visit you will need to obtain Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) as part of the requirements to enter Sri Lanka. There are three types of visas offered to overseas visitors by the Sri Lankan Department of Immigration and Emigration
  • a Visit Visa (Tourist or Business)
  • a Residence Visa
  • a Transit Visa.
If you are planning to visit the country for leisure, sightseeing, and holidaying you will need to apply for a Tourist Visit Visa or ETA. The easiest way to fulfil the requirements to visit Sri Lanka is to apply for your Sri Lanka Tourist Visa online at the official government website: https://eta.gov.lk/slvisa/

You are also permitted to apply for a tourist visa for Sri Lanka when you arrive at your Port of Entry, although additional charges may apply. We would advise that any application for a visa for Sri Lanka be made in person and through the government site, as using a third party does not guarantee that additional fees might not be applicable when you enter the country.

Citizens of The Republic of Seychelles, The Republic of Maldives, and The Republic of Singapore are exempt from ETA travel requirements to Sri Lanka because of a reciprocity agreement. Visitors from Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Cameroon are required to apply through a Sri Lankan sponsor via the Head office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration. Although your Sri Lanka tourist visa is only valid for 30 days, you may be permitted to extend your stay for a further 6 months by applying to the head office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration (DI&E), Colombo.

Requirements to Visit Sri Lanka with Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)

As no nationalities are currently granted visa exemption when entering the country, the requirements to visit Sri Lanka for a holiday for most foreigners involves the successful application for Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before you arrive in the country. This will allow you to travel within Sri Lanka for an initial maximum period of 30 days following your date of arrival. The application for your tourist visa to Sri Lanka begins by accurately completing the online application form and paying the relevant processing fee using an accepted credit card/e-commerce enabled debit card. Once the application has been submitted you will receive a prompt acknowledgement (usually within 24 hours of submission). If you wish to check the status of your ETA application, you can do this on the ETA website or by contacting the ETA call center on 0094 71 99 67 888.

As well as a valid ETA, requirements for travel to Sri Lanka include an undamaged passport (no ripped, damaged, or missing pages) that is valid for at least 6 months from the date of your planned departure from Sri Lanka, a return/onward airline ticket, and proof that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while travelling in the country. It is important to double-check that you have entered your passport number, date of birth, and your nationality correctly as the processing fee is non-refundable once your submission has been made. It is also important to arrive at Immigration with the same documents you use to apply for your Sri Lanka tourist visa, as producing different documents will result in having to pay for the visa again.

As well as the relevant travel documents, we strongly advise that you take out comprehensive travel health insurance and our recommended travel insurance can be found here and visit a health professional between four and six weeks before travel for a health assessment and to obtain information on any recommended vaccinations. It is also worth checking a government or other trusted website for up-to-the-minute information on entry and travel requirements to Sri Lanka, travel restrictions, and additional safety and security advice.

Sri Lanka Entry Requirements for those Arriving Without Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)

Although obtaining an ETA before arriving in the country is the easiest way to ensure hassle-free entry, Sri Lanka entry requirements do not make ETA compulsory for foreign visitors. Applying for a visa on arrival in Sri Lanka can be done at your port of entry. This is most likely to be Bandaranaike International Airport. After landing at BIA, visitors are required to head to the ETA counter and fill out an application form. You will also have to pay the processing fee for your on arrival visa for Sri Lanka in US Dollars or by using an electronic payment card, also payable in US Dollars. Once you receive your ETA approval notice you will be asked to proceed to the Immigration Counter to present your passport with at least 6 months validity from your departure date as well as any other required documentation (see above). Note: Visa fees for nationals from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Countries start from 20 USD, and fees for those visiting from other countries start from 50 USD.

Note: A pilot program to boost tourism in Sri Lanka means that until 31.03.2024 ETA requirements to enter Sri Lanka have been changed to create free-of-charge ETA for the following countries: China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, and Thailand. Please visit the government website for more details.

As experts in curating travel itineraries for travelers to all corners of Asia, we are constantly keeping an eye on any changes to travel requirements to Sri Lanka and our team is here to help with any enquiries you may have. Whether you are traveling to Sri Lanka for adventure, to absorb the country’s incredible culture, or for a well-earned holiday with your family, Secret Retreats is here to ensure every moment you spend in this remarkable country is an amazing experience that will remain with you for a lifetime. If you have any enquiries, please feel free to contact a member of the Secret Retreats team at dream@secret-retreats.com.

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